Tenant Noise Complaints

9 Replies

Hi BP,

I have a 3 floor multifamily with Section 8 tenants on all 3 floors.  

For the most part they are all good tenants and I have had little problems. Everyone pays their portion of the rent on time and apartments are generally clean.  Recently I have been getting noise complaints from the second floor.  There are 2 small children living on the 3rd floor and some very animated adults.   To make matters worse its hardwood flooring which does not help. 

Any suggestions or advice here would be a big help.  The 2nd floor tenants are getting very upset and making complaints more frequently now. 

Thanks in advance. 

@Josh Skyer This may seem overly obvious but... have you started by discussing the issue with the third floor renters? From my experience, if you approach the conversation in an empathetic, considerate way, tenants generally respond positively.

Hi @Josh Skyer This can definitely become a sticky situation. Have you approached the tenants on the third floor yet? Most folks tend to be understanding and are willing to do their part to help the situation. Keep us posted.

You might offer the 3rd floor tenant out of the lease or suggest no shoes in the house.... other than that remind them that all tenants need quiet enjoyment. Maybe record how loud it is and play for the 3rd floor tenant? I would also speak with an atty to make sure i was on solid footing if things get ugly

It is important to remember in these situations you are only getting one side of the story. I would just send all of the tenants letters reminding them of the quiet enjoyment section of their lease. This way it does not make it look like you are singling out the 3rd floor tenant. Let the 2nd floor tenant know you are sending the letter out so they know you are trying to rectify the issue. 

You always start these situations by warning people in advance, multiple times, that noise carries between units. Institute quiet hours like 9pm - 8am. Warn people with children that their kids WILL bother the neighbors. Warn people living downstairs that the kids upstairs WILL bother them. Warn, warn, warn.

Unless it's extraordinary or during quiet hours, don't get involved.

I agree with what has been said above. I would make sure to send a letter that explains the expectations in very clear terms. I would also stop by and visit the tenant. People can be more reasonable than expected when asked to help provide a solution. In the end if there was a problem that persists I would then look into an area rug from somewhere extremely cheap, or a used piece of carpet. Only for the living area. The $100 would be worth it to me as a gesture of my willingness to solve the problem. Get the carpet and tell the tenants I understand kids need to play, especially with covid keeping us in. When I delivered the area rug I'd ask them to try to keep the kids playing in the living room. That is why I'd visit to ask if they like a carpet, then hit them with the keep the noise down request. In the end I don't like to spend money if I don't have to but I like continued BS even less.

Anyone who says "kids will be kids" has a lazy parenting style or they just don't respect others. They are basically just saying they believe they have no control over their children, which is false based on the fact other parents have control over their kids. 

I have multiple tenants who moved from multifamily to my single family homes due to being sick of the noise from neighbors. It is one of the negatives of people sharing walls or floors in this case.

If the third floor tenants are a real noise problem, they could drive out your second floor tenants and even drive out future tenants. 

There are not many solutions here. Talk to the third floor tenants again or look at solutions like ceiling insulation and carpet to help. Maybe if a 3rd floor unit comes available, you can move the second floor tenant up. Or maybe you can move the third floor tenant to the first floor.

Thank you all for taking the time to offer help here. It's greatly appreciated. 

Im not positive how this will play out.  It's section 8 and the apartments are really nice.  Marble, stainless steel appliances, really nice kitchen backsplashes, nice hardwood flooring, etc. My hope is that any negatives due to noise might be made up by the positives of sections 8 housing MILES AHEAD of what's currently on the market. 

Thank you all